Same as the old boss: Fox may bid for the Dodgers

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Michele Steele of Bloomberg Television reports that, according to some people in the company, Fox is interested in bidding on the Dodgers when they’re auctioned off in bankruptcy.

As Steele later tweeted, this would simply be about the costs of programming, not about actually, you know, wanting to buy a baseball team.  She notes that the network could spend as much as $3 billion over 17 years for the TV rights to the Dodgers, as bid against other potential competitors for those rights.  But if they bought the team they could spend somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion now for the team and guarantee themselves the TV rights. Not for free, of course — media right holders who also own the team have always paid themselves something for the privilege of broadcasting — but it’s a way lower number than the network would have to pay by itself, bidding against other networks.

For those of you who can’t remember life before Frank McCourt, Fox was the previous owner of the Dodgers. And one of the biggest reasons they sold the team in 2004 is that they are a broadcasting company, not a sports management company, so they lost money on the team. Which they only really had for the broadcast rights anyway. Sound familiar?

Yes, the world of team-owned media outlets (or media-owned team content providers) has grown far more sophisticated in the past several years and, yes, it’s possible that Fox would take a totally different tack if they were to take over the Dodgers again.  But really, should they even be given the chance?  Their bailing on the team last time gave us Frank McCourt to begin with.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.